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The Barn and Eco Garden (Winner)

Judge's Comments

Entering, through the almost hidden doors beside the Peace Mural, the Judges found themselves in an oasis of tranquillity compared to the bustling urban environment of Dalston Junction. Full of natural materials and with the 'back garden' like vegetable patches between meandering paths - we immediately felt welcome. The barn structure was simple and yet very attractive. Its five separate but open spaces were clearly being used in a variety of ways during our visit. Other groups of people were scattered throughout the garden, drinking tea and enjoying the sunshine. 

The Barn and Eco Garden is an excellent example of how an abandoned piece of land can be affordably transformed into an asset that enhances the locality and benefit the community. Every inch has a strong sense of community spirit.

View more images of this scheme (PDF, 1.1MB)

Scheme details

Address: 13 Dalston Lane, London E8 3DF
Architect: J&L Gibbons, EXYZT, MUF art/architecture
Client: London Borough of Hackney, Design for London
Contractor: PGSD Ltd, Davies and Davies (Group) Ltd

About the project

The Eastern Curve was an overgrown, abandoned railway land identified as one of 76 micro-projects in the "Making Space in Dalston" project by J&L Gibbons and MUF Art/Architecture. In 2009 EXYZT (an architect collective) constructed and occupied a five-story scaffold windmill and bread oven alongside a wheat field installation by Agnes Denes - this was curated by the Barbican and visited by 12,000 over 3 weeks.

From there the Barn evolved as an open sided structure with a recycled Jara dance floor, rainwater storage and furniture made in community workshops onsite. It protects from the rain and offers flexibility of use. The garden provides growing patches within an ecology of ruderal vegetation (increasingly rare in the city). The pioneer woodland intensifies around the barn and a boardwalk lines the meadow with clumps of hazel, cobnut, and gean to create a landscape of depth and intermittent view.

The project allows for the community to evolve a pattern of use, and promotes an open, creative dialogue in achieving meaningful change on this strategically important site.

For more information visit the architect's website.

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Page updated: 29 Nov 2010 

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